The National Safety Council has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month so that residents of Georgia and across the U.S. may recognize the dangers of that behavior. This year, the Risk Institute at The Ohio State University provided research on various factors behind the growing trend of being distracted behind the wheel.
Georgia drivers who cause fatal two-car accidents might be more likely to be under the influence of alcohol or prescription opioids than drivers who are not at fault. Researchers looked at 18,321 fatal two-car accidents and found that more than 900 drivers who were at fault tested positive for prescription opioids compared to 549 who were not at fault. More than 5,200 motorists who were at fault tested positive for alcohol compared to 1,815 who were not at fault.
Human error, equipment malfunction or even animals could be the cause of motor vehicle accidents in Georgia. Human error includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Distracted driving is another common cause of car accidents. Using a phone while driving, eating and even dealing with children while in the car may be distracting enough to cause an accident. Some accidents may occur because the driver has a stroke, a seizure or another medical incident. Even getting lost or being unfamiliar with traffic laws, particularly if the person is from another state, could lead to an accident.
Most people in Georgia have either used their smartphones behind the wheel or seen other drivers doing it. Because operating a phone takes people's eyes off of the road, the distraction places them at a greater risk of causing crashes. According to research, drivers increase their chances of experiencing a fatal traffic accident by 66 percent when they use their phones.
Emergency room doctors in Georgia and around the country treat about 2 million car accident victims every year. This places a huge financial burden on the health care sector, but treatment costs could be reduced significantly if all road users fastened their seatbelts, according to a recent study. Researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center and New York University studied medical records to find out how effective seatbelts are at preventing serious liver injuries. They found that being properly restrained reduced such injuries by 21 percent.
Most Georgia drivers understand the importance of strong road safety regulations. Over the years, laws on speeding, drunk driving, seatbelts and child restraints have helped reduce deaths in the U.S. and worldwide. However, according to a new report by the World Health Organization, many low-income countries lack sufficient laws in these areas. As a result, traffic fatalities continue to rise.
With the winter comes blizzards and icy, snowy or wet roads, even in some parts of Georgia. Drivers should therefore take the following tips into account and prepare their vehicles for these challenges. As a first step, they could have a mechanic check their vehicle's components, including the brakes, ignition, spark plugs and battery. The mechanic can also make sure that antifreeze levels are right and that the tires are properly inflated and free of wear.
Georgia residents may know that the number of fatal car crashes is increasing. Yet it will be difficult for states to develop laws and regulations addressing the factors behind this increase, and the reason is simple: police reports come with severe limitations. A study from the National Safety Council shows that this is a nationwide issue.
It may be more efficient for diligent workers in Georgia to stay connected with the main office or clients while on the road, but results from the 2018 Distracted Driving Report suggest that doing so may contribute to more accidents. Results from the report show a striking correlation between an increase in smartphone usage and the growing mobile workforce, referring to people who either stay connected outside of the office or do most of their work while on the road.
Teen drivers, in Georgia as in other states, are especially prone to distracted driving and other forms of negligence behind the wheel, and it seems that traditional drivers' education does little to affect their awareness of the risks involved. However, a supplemental program called the Texas Reality Education for Drivers program provides interactive, reality-based instruction that has been shown to increase teens' risk awareness.